As Matthias Steiner already mentioned in his blog post SAP NetWeaver Cloud & Open Source – A match made in heaven on Monday, we organized the third SAP Open Source Summit last week Thursday and Friday. While this was an internal event, the topic obviously is not. We also had five external keynote speakers – it was great to get their perspective and to use the opportunity for more in-depth discussions on trends and future opportunities. More on that the next episodes.
A theme that I heard more than once from our guests is that they recognize from the summit sessions and discussions (as well as from earlier interactions) that SAP is a quite active open source consumer and contributor, but only very few people outside of SAP know about that. It seems to be one of the best kept secrets – even though there is no reason to keep it secret. Point taken. This post is an(other) attempt to change that.
Let me start with an example. One that Mike Milinkovich mentioned during his keynote about Foundations 2.0: SAP is the third-largest committer to Eclipse projects. As of today, 31 committers from SAP have done 63,867 commits to 26 Eclipse projects with together 3,127,480 lines of code. I don’t think that we are or need to be in a race here to compete for the second or third place. I think that the numbers just say that open source contributions are a normal course of action for SAP and become increasingly important from a product development perspective.
The other example I saw last week is the discussion around best practices for open source contributions. At the past open source summits (2009 and 2010, those days organized by Erwin Tenhumberg) we talked a lot about how to become a committer at an open source project. This time, we had a number of committers and even project leads on stage sharing their experience and recommendations. It is interesting to notice that Stephan Klevenz (committer to odata4j at Google Code), Matthias Sohn (co-lead for EGit and JGit at Eclipse), Krum Tsvetkov (co-lead for Eclipse Memory Analyzer, originally initiated by SAP), and Florian Mueller (chair and VP for Apache Chemistry) all work for SAP. And now the discussion was much more about effective project management, IP management done by open source foundations or procedural questions like how to report and handle security vulnerabilities in open source code (a topic that is better not discussed in the public until a fix is available).
Now, instead of overloading this blog post, my plan is to write a series on the Open Source Summit 2012 as follows:
- Overall Impressions (this post)
- What we think – SAP Open Source Strategy
- Insights from keynotes
- What we do next
I hope this will be interesting for a broader audience and look forward to your feedback.